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Selections from TV's "Stars of Jazz"

Stars of Jazz
February 16, 2019 - 2:08 pm

Access every screening in the UCLA Festival of Preservation with a $50 pass.

Modern Jazz Quartetexcerpt  (KABC, 6/9/1958)

Max Roach Quintetexcerpt  (KABC, 10/13/1958)

Lighthouse All Starsexcerpt  (KABC, 5/19/1958)

Count Basie Orchestra; Joe Williams  (KABC, 6/23/1958)

Stars of Jazz aired weekly on KABC-TV in Los Angeles from June 25, 1956 to December 29, 1958, with additional national broadcasts on the ABC network. Hosted with cool authority by musician and actor Bobby Troup (songwriter of the beloved standard "Route 66"), Stars of Jazz exposed both hip and square audiences to the best of jazz music and its immensely-gifted practitioners, greatly expanding the reach of one of the most important American art forms of the 20th century. Of significant note, during the early years of the civil rights struggle, Stars of Jazz frequently presented viewers with integrated programming at a time when few African American artists were seen on television. This progressive modernity is also reflected in the mid-century design aesthetics of the program, with sparse stages and moodily lit sets that reflect the dynamic tenor of jazz. The results were innovative, music-dense broadcasts unlike anything else on TV at the time or perhaps since.

To enhance the viewing and listening experience of this historic series, four original Stars of Jazz kinescopes were scanned at 2K high definition resolution, with their soundtracks restored from superior audio sources that were originally distributed for entertainment purposes to the military both domestically and abroad on transcription discs that were broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). This digital restoration project represents a second premiere of sorts for Stars of Jazz, as the kinescope images and high fidelity sound sources for these specific episodes have not previously been joined.—Mark Quigley

Digital video, b/w, 70 min. A KABC-TV production. Executive Producer: Peter Robinson.Producer: Jimmie Baker. Writer: Bob Arbogast. Director: Hap Weyman. Host: Bobby Troup.

Preservation funded by the Grammy Museum Foundation. Audio engineering services by Nicholas Bergh, Endpoint Audio Labs. Project partners and contributors: Mark Cantor, Celluloid Improvisations; David Seubert, Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library; Ken Poston, Los Angeles Jazz Institute; James Harrod, Jazz Research.